S1E29: In this Kashmiri hamlet, locals wave to ‘enemies’ across the river

  • 13 Feb 2024

We transport you to Keran, which sits on the Line of Control - a ceasefire line dividing Kashmir into territories administered by India and Pakistan.

Synopsis: Every first Friday of the month, The Straits Times chats with ST’s correspondents in the Asia-Pacific, the US and Europe, about life as it goes on, amid the screaming headlines and bubbling crises. 

At a time when people-to-people links are practically non-existent between India and Pakistan, Keran is a rare place where greetings, waves and even smiles could be exchanged. A river, less than 100 metres wide, divides both sides. 

Keran, a tiny village of around 1,500, is nestled in a valley within the part of Kashmir that is administered by India. It is here that tourism has boomed in recent years. Visitors come - to stay in houses pockmarked by mortar fragments and to peep into the Pakistan-administered side of the land.

In this episode, ST’s foreign editor Li Xueying chats with ST’s India correspondent Debarshi Dasgupta, who also shares his personal history - of family members being torn asunder after the 1947 partition of South Asia.

Highlights (click/tap above):

1:14 Why India is moving to promote border tourism

3:15 A beacon of hope but one single major terrorist attack in Kashmir can set this story back by many, many years

7:31 A deep and haunting sense of loss when families are torn apart after South Asia was carved up in 1947

13:25 Difficult questions remain: what are the steps that India and Pakistan are taking to heal this long festering bilateral wound? 

16:30 Other frontier towns to visit in India 

Produced by: Li Xueying (xueying@sph.com.sg), Ernest Luis and Fa’izah Sani

Edited by: Fa’izah Sani

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